A two-year report into the country’s mental wellbeing by government think-tank Foresight, says a campaign to boost the mental health of the nation is needed to combat rising rates of depression, anxiety and drug abuse
Experts call for campaign to boost nation’s mental health
A two-year report into the country’s mental wellbeing by government think-tank Foresight, says a campaign to boost the mental health of the nation is needed to combat rising rates of depression, anxiety and drug abuse. The proposed campaign, which would be akin to the ‘five portions of fruit and vegetables a day’ guidelines promoted by the Food Standards Agency, identifies five actions that people can take to boost their mental health: developing friendships, being physically active, fostering curiosity about the world, continuing education throughout life, and doing voluntary work.
The report draws on advice from more than 400 international experts and warns that mental illness caused by stressful working conditions, a lack of exercise and a breakdown in family and social networks is likely to be exacerbated by the economic downturn and rising average age of the population. The report is one of the first to highlight a strong link between debt and mental illness. The authors recommend better training for teenagers to ensure they can manage their finances.
The report also stresses the need to detect learning difficulties early in children’s school careers and calls for wide-ranging changes in the workplace, where absenteeism due to stress and other mental health problems accounts for an estimated 10m to 14m days of lost productivity, at a cost of around £750m a year.